Betty Bowers Reviews

Harry Potter

Hark! Christian friends, do you hear a ringing sound throughout America? That clanging cacophony is coming from every movie theater showing Harry Potter. It is the Lord Jesus using cash registers (a communication device He pioneered with Pat Robertson and perfected with Paul and Jan Crouch) to sound a battle clarion for all True Christians living within earshot of a multiplex: With Harry Potter, it is clear that Satan is doing a much better job of marketing witchcraft than we are of peddling Christianity!

I just returned from a private screening, followed by a rather edgy dinner with a very angry Jesus (it is no wonder how, after a tense meal with Him, His disciples told everyone in town that was their "last supper" with Jesus!). I can tell you that Jesus is furious (and has perilously veered off His Adkins diet). He is feeling betrayed and shortchanged by His followers. You see, when it comes to promotional vanity projects, the best we Christians have been able to muster for Him recently is Left Behind starring Kirk Cameron. Kirk Cameron! Satan, on the other hand, has now weighed in on behalf of witchcraft with the much more appealing Harry Potter. Let's face it: Satan shows much more discriminating casting and better production values! Are we about to be defeated by Christianity's worst enemy: More ingeniously packaged superstitions?

Make no mistake: The assault in on. Hollywood is coming after the hearts of our children with tales of mystical powers even more appealing than those in the Bible -- which, frankly, isn't terribly difficult. In a cagey attempt to go after the coveted 8-18 market, the new Harry Potter movie is teaching children that they -- not unemployed adults like 1990's slacker-chic Jesus -- have all the power. In the world of Harry Potter, children wave 11-inch rods to cast spells and routinely backtalk adults. In the Old Testament, adults use 11-inch rods to beat the stuffing out of children (Proverbs 13:24) – and stone them to death if they backtalk (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Clearly, J. K. Rowling has a defter touch than our Lord when it comes to writing a book that children will kneel before their beds at night and pray is true.

What barely literate Church of God mother, wishing to homeschool her children about Jesus on plastic-laminated card tables in her damp unfinished basement, stands a chance against the lush glittering allure of the grandly furnished, gothic Hogwarts Academy? Yes, Hogwarts is similar to Christian academies in that no time is squandered teaching history, literature and science (and there are few unsightly non-Caucasian children) but, sadly, that is where the similarity ends!

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), wearing a Dorothy Hamill unisex hairstyle resurrected from the 1970's by America's First Lady Laura Bush, is Jesus Killer Rowling's (and you wonder why she goes by her initials!) homosexual recruitment poster-boy. How do we know he is a depraved homosexual? Well, he's English. Furthermore, when he lives with his dreadful Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, he sleeps "in the closet." (I never claimed that secular imagery was anymore subtle than our own!) As Harry becomes more attuned to his satanic powers, he comes "out of the closet" and befriends Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), an old biker "bear" of lascivious intentions.

If there is any question that Harry is a homo, it is settled once and for all when he flees the dreadfully decorated (even by middle class British standards!) home of his Muggle foster family, the Dursleys. What is the first thing he does? He goes shopping! Making the rounds at the exclusive boutiques of Diagon Alley Outlet Mall, Harry picks out flamboyant accessories for a foppish wardrobe full of flowing gowns and hats so ludicrous they would be unthinkable outside of a black church. Like all Nancy-Boys, he becomes fascinated with 11-inch cylindrical objects he can hold in his hand and spends much of the film flying around with a pole wedged between the cheeks of his bottom. Indeed, the producers of the film were apparently so concerned that Harry sound as fey as possible, when Daniel Radcliffe's voice broke, they dubbed it with the most effeminate voice since Shirley Temple was potty-trained -- the notorious pederast Michael Jackson, using the smirky stage name of Joe Sowerbutts.

Once Harry arrives at Hogwarts, he is free to begin an unbroken daisy chain of homosexual liaisons. Fortunately for Christian viewers, the frantic buggery that is endemic at all British schools with stone floors is mercifully left off-camera. But this does not mean that Harry doesn't devote shocking attention to finding other homosexuals to pair off with. For those of you thinking I am making this up, I direct your attention to page 171 of the book upon which this film was based for the brazen matchmaking exploits of young British homosexuals:

"Professor Flitwick [Harry's "charms" (wink, wink) teacher] put the class into pairs to practice. Harry's partner was Seamus Finnigan, which was a relief, because Neville had been trying to catch his eye."

Yes, it is utterly shameless! When not plotting same-sex trysts, Harry is busy disobeying adults as he prowls around the forbidden hallways of Hogwarts at night, hoping to catch adults in compromising situations. As played by Maggie Smith, prim Miss Jean Brodie is now Professor McGonagall, who can turn herself into a cat at will, but is apparently powerless against a face that droops like a clump of wet Bounty towels. With Professor McGonagall, J. K. Rowling attempts to recast evil witches as benign and helpful, if not quite attractive. This revisionism was, no doubt, plagiarized from our very own attempt to pass off the wrathful, killing, vindictive God of the Old Testament as a meek dispenser of harmless bromides in the New, Improved Testament.

Harry Potter is simply one in a long line of Hollywood vehicles intended to lure our impressionable children into believing that secular apparitions, while often speaking in an annoyingly coy voice, are more helpful than Jesus. For example, Dorothy Gale isn't left to flail about helplessly in Oz asking "What Would Glinda Do?" – the so-called "Good Witch" of the North actually floats down and tells her what to do! Similarly, in Hook, children are led to believe that Tinkerbell is more than just a woman with collagened lips who is notorious for snorting fairy dust and sleeping with all of her co-stars!
Harry Potter is directed by Chris Columbus, who is a man experienced with both adult-like children over-reacting (Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone) and child-like adults overacting (Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire). In deference to its overblown budget, Columbus uses John Williams's music like a big, bloated yellow-highlighter to underscore, well actually over-score, each emotional nuance until it is pummeled into the audience with the subtlety of a CBS sitcom. When it comes to original music in Hollywood, either you get the pseudo-hip songs of puppy-dog-cute friendship played with the same three chords on a piano by Randy Newman or you get the overpowering bombast of the string sections from three regional symphony orchestras scored by John Williams. There is no middle ground. And there are, apparently, no other composers working in the film industry. So it is little wonder why most movies simply tack on tunes by whomever happens to be popular during post-production without regard to the actual story.

Satan has clearly thrown down the gauntlet with Harry Potter. He has put True Believers on notice that he will not give up until he has enticed all of our impressionable children to read books that don't start with naked people lying and killing each other (the Bible). Perhaps in anticipation of the eye-popping special effects the Lord has in mind for the forthcoming Apocalypse, the movie industry is trying to outflank Christians when it comes to creating a fantasy world filled with supernatural phenomenon and larger-than-life characters who wear flowing, beltless robes and find mortals a constant source of irritation. While our ghosts are Holy and are able to create adorable personal bonfires that hover over heads babbling "tongues" – an instant immersion course in languages that mean nothing to anyone – in an act of galling one-upmanship, secular ghosts tend to have more winning, cheerful personalities (think Casper) and entice humans to say things that are intelligible, if not quite interesting (think The Sixth Sense).

With Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Hollywood has joint-ventured with Lucifer to create a cunning piece of stunning $125 million propaganda to lure our Christian children away with the tantalizing powers of witchcraft. In doing so, Satan is simply taking advantage of centuries of Christians' hard work. If it were not for battalions of Baptists relentlessly brow-beating their children with Bible Study, Bible School, Vacation Bible School and Bible Camp, America's children would never have been inured to the implausible enough to swallow J. K. Rowling's far-fetched bunk in the first place. We soften them up to believe anything they are told – and Satan moves in for the now-easy sales pitch! Such brazen opportunism has not been seen since, well, Michael Jackson co-opted Anthrax as a vehicle to draw attention to himself, overlooking the fact that he no longer had a nose in which to inhale spores!

Harry Potter signals that Satan is clearly going after the most reliable demographic Christian churches normally count on for tithes – people gullible enough to believe that spells and hexes are real. Truly, there is no gratitude in this god-eat-god world of supernatural marketing. Indeed, if it weren't for Christians, there would be no satanic witchcraft. After all, we were the ones who invented Satan (as a vehicle for palming off all the horrible things that occur in a world created by an all-powerful being). If you don't believe in the Bible, then you don't believe in Satan. Indeed, Satanism is little more than an embarrassing offshoot of Christianity. Its followers believe all the same stuff we do about blood, demons and magic, but simply pick the wrong character in the fabulously gothic story to emphasize. As such, they are virtually indistinguishable from the Mary-genuflecting Catholics.

The same thankless debt is owed by witches. Shakespeare could make them come to life at the Old Globe, but it took Puritans to kill them in the real world. The witches of Macbeth may die on stage if inartfully played, but, in Salem, Christians ensure that they died on petards for their toil and trouble. Clearly, it takes a Christian to imbue an air of authenticity to a concept what non-believers may be otherwise inclined to simply dismiss as harmless, far-fetched fiction. Magic tricks like walking on water that can later be turned into a sea of chardonnay? That was us! As such, we deserve the credit for making otherwise intelligent adults regard truly outlandish tales as real. And what is the gratitude we get? Satan uses this carefully nurtured credulity to trot out an even slicker story than the erstwhile greatest one ever told – Harry Potter!

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